The Law Office of Robert J. McGovern represents clients in business development and planning, commercial transactions, and government relations, with a specialization in the alcoholic beverage and hospitality industry.
Massachusetts brewers descended on Beacon Hill last week to continue their almost decade-long fight to liberate their beer from the draconian franchise law holding them hostage. Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 138 Section 25E, any brewery (or distillery or vineyard for that matter) that sells its product to a distributor for a six-month period is automatically entered into a business relationship (whether an explicit agreement exists or not) requiring the brewery to sell that particular product exclusively to that distributor, potentially for life. The inability to extricate their products from distributor relationships, particularly when the business relationship has deteriorated, has irked brewers for years. Meanwhile, Distributors suggest a change in the law would risk jobs and shutter businesses. Several bills are pending at the State House to do just that, but to fully understand the current situation it helps to have some background.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives recently released its budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Embedded in the outside sections, Section 69, is a change to the alcoholic beverage licensing laws for casinos (G.L. c. 23K, Section 26) that would allow patrons actively gambling to continue drinking through 4:00 AM.
Opening a restaurant can be the fulfillment of a long-sought dream, but success does not happen by accident. It is the product of detailed planning. One must consider all legal, business, financial and operational factors to cultivate an environment for the restaurant to thrive. This guide is intended to educate prospective restaurateurs of the generic legal considerations one will encounter and equip them with the tools to provide the best opportunity for the successful launch of a restaurant with an alcoholic beverage license in Massachusetts.